Massage: Medical Treatment Or Indulgence?

How is a medical massage different from a regular massage?

Today, more and more orthopedic practices are offering complimentary treatment protocols, like medical massage. Research is showing that many of these methods, including yoga, acupuncture, and PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy, as well as massage, are often quite effective.  

Besides studies showing the value of complementary treatment methods, orthopedists and other healthcare professionals are responding to their patients. Western medicine has always made great strides in terms of technology and innovation. In more recent years, however, there has been a shift from treating symptoms and diseases to treating the whole person. Medical care that is truly integrative is on its way to becoming the new norm. 

One of the most popular and widely used examples of an alternative healing method that is now frequently incorporated into today’s medical practices is medical massage. We have always known that a massage can certainly make you feel better. Until fairly recently, however, healthcare professionals would have agreed that even though it could relieve stress, it was more of a “spa day” indulgence than legitimate medical treatment.   

What changed to move a massage from something that we received a gift certificate for on our birthday if we were lucky to something we receive a prescription for from our doctor? Is it a particular form of massage or specialized training? 

Massage Or Medical Massage?

Medical massage is not defined by the type of massage stroke used or, necessarily, by the title on the massage therapist’s certificate. A wide range of massage techniques may be appropriate for use in a medical massage. The distinction lies in the purpose or goal. A medical massage is outcome-based. When a physician prescribes a massage for a patient, it is with the goal of relieving a particular physical condition. The massage becomes part of an overall treatment plan and may be referred to a massage therapist that the physician works with or to a physical therapist. 

Benefits Provided By Medical Massage

The list of conditions that can benefit from massage is lengthy and growing. Studies have validated the effectiveness of massage for:

  • Stress relief
  • Reduce levels of anxiety 
  • Issues with digestion
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frequent headaches
  • Reduce pain from tired and overworked muscles
  • Part of the rehab process following injuries and surgical procedures
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Easing some of the common side effects of chemotherapy
  • Relieving some of the chronic pain from MPS (myofascial pain syndrome)
  • Relaxing the tension caused by adhesions and swelling after surgery
  • Reducing pain and inflammation from strains and injuries
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint pain)

If a massage for symptom relief fits into your lifestyle, you will be pleased to know that it is becoming more widely incorporated into medical practices all the time. It is even being reimbursed by some insurance companies and those numbers are expected to increase. 

Contact Our Long Island Physiatrists Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we treat more than just your symptoms. We focus on the underlying cause of your condition and provide evidence-based, non-surgical treatments. If you have any questions about medical massages or any other forms of complementary medicine, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us today.